Last night the Rangers lost to the Ottawa Senators in the first meaningless game they have played in a long time. I didn’t watch a single minute. I was taking full advantage of the luxury of not having to worry about how the Rangers did and just simply enjoyed that absolutely sensational hockey being played around the league.
I was mainly focused on the Bruins-Panthers matchup, Detroit-Montreal, and of course, LA versus Calgary. With so much congestion in the bottom part of the conferences, eliminated teams playing spoiler and seed shuffling taking place all the way to the last day of the season, it’s a good time to be a hockey fan.
Most years, we Rangers fans drink heavily, pull our hair out and stress to an extremely unhealthy degree waiting for the Blueshirts to clinch a spot. Most years it works out, some years it doesn’t (I’m looking at you Olli Jokinen), but this year is different. Far and away the biggest source of stress leading up to the start of the postseason is general health. Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello have been getting some much needed rest, and Hank is getting his reps in. I’m sure fans of the Pens and Bruins would have loved to see us take out Ottawa last night, but it makes me endlessly happy to say, “not our problem”.
It’s an odd thing to have events of consequence going on all around us and having no real vested interest in it. You can just enjoy it and see how it unfolds. Sure, the fan in me loved seeing the Kings eliminated last night, and would absolutely be thrilled watching the Bruins or the Penguins juuuust miss the postseason. With the current state of the league, “be careful what you wish for” is all the more pronounced, so I honestly am not pulling for the Rangers to have any specific matchup in the first round. I can just watch it all objectively.
An 82-game NHL season is an incredible grind. Especially with this group and their maddeningly slow starts, vesting in a chance to be the last team standing in June is most certainly an emotional commitment. Even around here, there are times when the team is struggling, that we in turn struggle to find content worth writing about. So I find myself in a strange spot; knowing that there is plenty of meaningful hockey ahead, yet not right this moment. I’ll have a goaltending preview up for whomever the Rangers draw in the first round, but today, I am perfectly satisfied to write about nothing.